Imagine a gift that continues to bring joy and excitement long after the wrapping paper is gone – a gift that doesn’t just collect dust on a shelf but enriches your child’s life and creates cherished memories.
This year, why not think outside the box and give your tween an experience gift? Unlike toys or gadgets that may lose their allure, an experience gift – be it a cooking class, a concert, or a weekend camping trip – will provide your child with new skills, insights, and happy moments to reminisce about.
Join the trend that many parents are embracing, recognizing that experiences, exploration, and quality time often hold more value and meaning for their children than material possessions.
What Sort of Experience Gift Should You Give a Tween?
Choosing an experience gift that aligns with your child’s interests is crucial for ensuring its success and enjoyment. Every child is unique, with their own passions, curiosities, and hobbies.
Gifting an experience that resonates with their interests shows your deep understanding and consideration for their likes and dislikes. It maximizes the likelihood that they will genuinely engage with and cherish the gift.
Whether your child is an aspiring artist, a budding scientist, a sports enthusiast, or a nature lover, selecting an experience that fuels their passion will make the gift memorable and impactful, nurturing their growth, confidence, and love for learning.
With lots of input from our very own tweens and their friends, we’ve come up with this great list of experience gift ideas to suit different interests:
For Sporty and Adventure Seeking Tweens
- A ziplining and ropes course day
- Tickets to a big sporting match
- A kayaking adventure
- Indoor skydiving
- Ski or snowboarding lessons
- Horseriding lessons
- Surfing lessons
- Go karting session
- Paintballing session
- Zookeeper for a day
Arts, Crafts & Culture
Perfect for children who love expanding their skill sets in creative ways, why not try:
- An art class
- A smartphone photography tour
- Tickets to a stage performance
- Music lessons
- A modeling photo shot
- Bath bomb making class
Family Trips & Days Out
Your tweens still no doubt cherish the time you can all spend together as a family, so any whole-family experience gift in another town or even another country could make for an exciting surprise, such as:
- A family vacation
- Tickets to a festival or interstate event
- Family cooking class
- A mystery flight
- Amusement park trip
- Luxury spa day
- Whale watching tour
How to Gift an Experience
There’s no denying that an experience gift is a little harder to package up and deliver under a Christmas tree, but there are plenty of fun and creative ways of gifting an experience.
Does the experience come with a custom gift card or certificate?
Often, the providers of gift experiences will have beautiful presentation envelopes or boxes that come with a certificate or gift card for presentation.
Or alternatively, if this is a last-minute idea, check if there’s a printable PDF document that you can make your own poster or certificate at home.
Gift a hint item
Why not see if there’s a smaller physical gift that could accompany the experience or put together a gift basket, including a gift certificate, such as:
- A musical instrument to take to music lessons
- A new suitcase for a trip
- A basket with apron and cooking utensils for a cooking class
- A sports shirt ready to see a favorite team play
- Paints and canvas ready for an art class
- Helmets or safety gear for an outdoor adventure
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Provide clues that lead up to the discovery of the gift, building up the anticipation and guessing game; the first hint can be left under the tree, then lead them around the house or garden for a big reveal.
A countdown calendar
You could use a DIY advent calendar to drop hints over the month on what’s to come.
After the Experience is Over
The great thing about an experience gift is the memories they make during the experience and the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings afterward. This can be done in many different mediums, such as:
- Creating a fun photo book for the occasion
- Sharing photos and videos from their experience online
- Having the opportunity to present or report back to their school class
Key to Experience Gifts
Before gifting an experience, managing and tempering expectations with your tween is still important.
They are growing a greater sense of understanding of the world around them but are still very ‘me-centric’ at this age; if they get a promise of something later while siblings are unwrapping huge boxes of goodies, they may, understandably, still not recognize the monetary value and difference in the sentiment behind an experience gift vs. a material gift.
Whilst surprises can be awesome, it’s best to manage expectations that there won’t be as many other material gifts if a big experience gift is purchased.
Many of these experiences are non-refundable, too, so make sure your tween 1. Will actually love it! And 2. Will have an opportunity, such as time off school or sporting commitments, to actually partake in the experience before any vouchers expire.
Have you got any more gift experiences you think we should be adding to our list? Let us know in the comments below any creative and unique experiences we could add to our list!
More Tween Gift Inspiration
If you’re still looking for more ideas for gifting to your tween this year, you’ve come to the right place!
We have crafted and refined these huge gift guides with our tweens for several years now, broken down by age and gender:
Or, pop over here for all our gift guides by interest; from crafting and baking to crystal making, sporty kids, and gaming championships, we know what tweens love!